Photo by Colleen Lane

There’s a bewildering array of options to consider when planning your kitchen remodel. One of the most difficult choices you’ll have is deciding which countertops you want – after all, these will cover the biggest area of your kitchen and will affect the whole color scheme. But it’s not all about aesthetics as each material has its own properties and some are more expensive than others.


Granite is undoubtedly the most popular material for kitchen countertops. It is extremely strong yet very pretty to look at, with its natural grain and array of colors adding an earthy texture to your kitchen. It’s a very affordable material too, though of course for much higher quality cuts of stone you can expect to pay a more inflated price.

The only downside to the material is that it is porous so it will need to be treated with a sealant before installation, and this process should ideally be repeated every year. If you spill anything that may stain, make sure you wipe it up quickly!

Stainless Steel

This material has a number of excellent qualities. It’s strong, durable and easy to clean, a blessing in any kitchen. If you’re going for a sleek, modern look then this is the material for you – however, dressed up with the right appliances and fittings, it can fit into any style of kitchen. You can also choose faucets, splash-backs and sinks in the same material for a smooth, seamless look to your kitchen.

DIY lovers will be pleased that you can easily fit this material yourself and it comes at a very reasonable price.


Wood is an old favorite that works well in any kitchen, whatever style you’re going for. Wood is a durable, natural material that adds warmth to the room which is described as ‘the heart of the home’. It is also the cheapest material of the lot, although thicker cuts of rarer woods will be more expensive.

Wood can of course stain quite easily, and if you place a hot pan directly onto the surface then you’re likely to be left with scorch marks. Wood can also warp and stain when you get it wet, so it will require regular sealing treatments and you will need to be diligent about mopping up excess liquids.

Other materials to think about include soapstone, with its beautiful, natural tones suiting any kitchen despite its tendency to scratch and discolor easily; and glass, which is a hard-wearing, easy to clean and sleek alternative to the more severe look of stainless steel.